The word "planet" means wanderer. Ancient man realized that certain planets appeared to wander around the night sky in a way that through study corresponded to physical occurrences on earth. This was in relationship to the canopy of fixed stars, which did not move. The fixed stars of course do move, being so far away from us and outside of our solar system their movement appears infinitesimal. Over time man realized that not only did the planets movements correspond to physical phenomenon on earth, but also to individual experience. This is the true manifestation of "as above, so below".
The planets are not ‘doing’ anything to us, they reflect unfolding and cycles in the physical, spiritual and emotional experience of the individual. No one would deny that the ocean tides are in perfect sync with the phases of the Moon. It is a scientific fact. Under close study one discovers that all of life is mirrored in the heavens. Nature has provided us with an exquisite map. One that can enable us to be more closely aligned with our true nature and the path we are on. The planets are symbols of energy forces working within us. They are like the actors in our own personal play.
The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are termed the "Personal" planets. These planets were used in Traditional Astrology because they are visible to the naked eye and were the only ones seen before the discovery of the telescope. Planets move at vastly different rates: the Moon orbiting the earth in 28 days as opposed to Saturn taking 29 years to cover the same distance. Considering the vastness of our Solar system, they are all relatively close to earth and fast moving. Hence, their effects have been discovered to operate on a personal level. There is a relationship between how fast they move and how personally they are experienced.
The closer to earth, the more individual the experience connected with a planet in the horoscope. "Personal", means they speak of an individual’s personality, approach, preferences, style and attitudes in the sphere that the planet governs. You can read more about the Sun and the Moon by going to the "Luminaries" page. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are termed the "Transpersonal" planets.
These planets are not visible to the naked eye, and have only become known to us through the advent of technology. Because they are so distant from the Sun and Earth, their movement is very slow in relation to us. Therefore their effects are felt en masse, and tend to be very intense and significant on more of a collective level. They mark particular generational trends and attitudes that affect groups of people born at a particular time. These can be traced quite powerfully to what we describe as "generation gaps".